Monday, June 30, 2008

Out of the state

Jack took his first out-of-state trip yesterday. We drove up to Milwaukee to meet our friends Kurt and Amanda for a day at Summerfest. Despite a pretty weak musical lineup for a Sunday (the highlights include Stukenberg and a rock band with a Hasidic Jewish guitarist) and a pretty big downpour, we had fun.

Here are some photos for you. The last one is one of the many Mullets the guys photographed during the day. There was a contest, but I think the rain might have ruined it. More on that later.

Hi there!

Playing at summerfest

Reaching out

Give me that, Dad!

Mullet Hunting

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The fun stuff we do

So today Jack and I went to the pool for the third time. I just realized that I hadn't blogged about any of our pool adventures yet.

Today, we went to Sleepy Hollow Pool with Beth and Lily. I was rushing out of the house to meet them, so I forgot my camera. I will get pictures of those lovely ladies next time. We had a great time though. Surprisingly, there were very few people at the pool today. We were able to get chairs under the shade and we were able to sit in the zero depth area without getting splashed by other kids. The weather was great: the sun was out, but there was a nice wind to keep it from getting too hot.

Lily loves the water. She was so adventurous, often crawling away from Beth toward the deeper water. Beth even had her jumping in from the side. Don't worry, it was only a few inches down.

Jack really likes to stand in the water. He hasn't quite learned how to splash at the pool yet. He does know how to splash; he has proven that during bath time. Today we even played with a few little toys at the pool, which was fun.

Our previous adventures to the pool were this past Thursday when it was super hot. Steve worked from home and was able to go with us and Auntie Bubbles came out on her day off. The pool was pretty crowded, but we managed to get in and cool off without too much trouble. It really took us back to our younger days when we were all pool rats playing games and not wanting to ever get out.

Our first trip to the pool was to Cathy's pool at her condo. That was another pretty hot day. Jack was awesome then too. The water was pretty cold, but he took it like a man. I actually have some photos of that.



Why I love writing

Those of you who know me know that I do not handle stress very effectively. Today's post will give you a little insight into this if you do not know me that well.

First up, my son. When we visited with Nick last week, my adorable little nephew, who is three weeks younger than my son, was pushing up and holding himself up on his arms like the champ that he is. Now, I have been very good about not comparing my son's achievements with my nephew's. I realize that each child develops at his own rate. However, my sister then showed me an adorable little picture of Nick that had been taken for his 4-month photo, he was up on his arms in the push-up. My over-protective, worry-wart mom gene kicked into high gear. Jack is nearing 6-months and he was not pushing up on his arms.

So, we (meaning me) became vigilant, almost drill sergeant-ish about tummy time. We had at least two sessions a day. I was down on the floor demonstrating, cheering, possibly scaring my son into wanting to see the world from his tummy. And it worked!

Fine, I'll push up

We still have some work to do, but I am no longer worried that my son has no upper body strength or is destined to eat with his toes.

While I'm writing about eating, I'll tell you about Jack's teething. Yep, we are pretty sure he's teething. After much deducing, it's the only explanation for the constant chomping on anything that gets near his mouth, the puddles of drool that collect everywhere he stays for more than 30 seconds, and the new high-pitched squeal that makes him sound like a squeaky toy that has no off switch. I think this new whine is payback for the years I spent whining to my parents about how life isn't fair. I don't know that grown-up boys whine about that to their mothers, so they have to get the whining in early. I read somewhere that teething can take 6-8 weeks before the tooth actually appears. If that is the case, Jack and I have a long summer ahead of us. Of course, all of his teeth won't be in until he's two, so I guess I should take this as training. The good news is that we can distract him a lot of the time and get him to smile. He can't whine while he is smiling.

Next stressful scenario... the yard. Steve and I and Breyer moved into this beautiful home a little over a year ago. One of the reasons we were so excited to move here was the yard. Steve was excited about mowing the lawn. I was excited about planting flowers and vegetables.

So, one year later, here is our "beautiful" landscaping.

Gardening disaster

More gardening disaster

That's right, we grow weeds better than anyone else in the neighborhood. In our defense, we did just have a baby and last summer I wasn't allowed to lift anything over 15 lbs.

Luckily, there has been one inkling of success: strawberries!
Gardening success

Steve found two patches of wild strawberries growing in the yard. We're keeping an eye on them so we can try them out once they've ripened.

In the meantime, Cathy was kind enough to come over and help us get started on reclaiming our yard. We weeded and mulched around our oak tree next to the driveway. Steve weeded and Cathy, Steve and I mulched and cleaned up around the mailbox. Then Cathy and I planted zinnias and salvia in some pots on the front porch. I haven't taken pictures yet because I want to see if I can get them to grow. So far, a week later, all of the porch flowers are still alive. We planted two zinnia in some window boxes that have not fared as well, and I think it's due to a lack of sun light. The porch gets much more sun.

Steve has done a wonderful job mowing the lawn on a regular basis. I guess it's just the gardening I need to focus on.

This week, I made it my goal to figure out childcare for Jack for next fall. We visited two centers near our house: Goddard School and Bright Horizons. I'm pretty proud of myself because I have been putting this off for a quite a while. I didn't want to think about what daycare would be like and I didn't want to figure out all of the questions I should ask. But I did it this week, and it really wasn't that bad. I won't go into all of the gory details, but we are one giant step closer to making a decision. I was happy with both places that I visited.

On a happy note, while we were visiting Goddard, the owner, who was giving us the tour, commented on how much Jack looked like me. I was pretty darned excited. I don't know if she would have said this had Steve been with us, but I'm taking it anyway!
While Jack is starting to look more like me, Steve is starting to look more like Jack.

Steve... or Jack?

I realize that since I have been home for summer break, I am blogging a lot more. I really enjoy it. It's fun to write the little stories of the day and hear that others are reading it.

Even more so than writing, I am enjoying reading others' blogs. That's my new hobby while Jack naps; I just read the blogs of everyone I know until he wakes up. I guess that's why I like journalism so much. I just love stories.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Daddy's boy

I didn't get this posted right away, but I think it still deserves to be up here.

Everyone always comments on how much Jack looks like Steve. This picture just adds to that argument I guess! Aren't my boys cute?


We also visited Aunt Shayna, Uncle Dick and Shane this past Saturday. They were kind enough to loan us the exersaucer. As you can see by these photos, Jack loves the new toy!

This makes noise!

Aunt Shayna and the new toy

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Baseball Boys

Originally uploaded by kar.barrett

The rivalry starts at an early age. Jack and I spent today at Aunt Susie and Uncle Peter's house so we could play with Nick. Aunt Susie heard about a thing on Channel 5 where they are showing pictures of people preparing for the crosstown classic. We got the boys dressed up and headed to the backyard for a photo shoot. I'm sure the producers will pick this one. How could they pass up the two cutest Chicago baseball fans ever?

Go Cubs!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Abby and Jack

Abby and Jack

Abby was in for a visit today. We went to lunch with Cindy and Olivia (see below!). This was the first time Abby got to meet Jack (I'm such a jerk, the last few times I have seen Abby, I didn't bring Jack). They got along famously, as you can see in the photo.

Moms, Jack and Olivia

Rolling Over!

Rolling Over!
Originally uploaded by kar.barrett

So it has officially started; Jack is moving!

He rolled over for the "first" time last Thursday while Auntie Bubbles (Cathy) was babysitting. He was on his tummy and pushed himself over to his back.

Then he rolled over for his dad on Father's Day from his back to his tummy (he's such a thoughtful little boy!).

Then yesterday he rolled over for me! That's when this picture was taken.

Now everyone warned me to beware once he started rolling over. Well, I just laid him down for a late afternoon nap. We've been letting him cry himself to sleep in an effort to teach him how to soothe himself. So I let him cry for a few minutes. Then I went in to check on him because he was getting louder and more irritated. Yep, he had rolled over on his tummy! Guess even Jack knows that he should be sleeping on his back, not on his stomach!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Anniversary - It's not quite leather

To my dear and loving husband...

I could go on in the words of the great Puritan poet, Anne Bradstreet, but it's summer vacation, so my own words will have to do!

It has been three wonderful years. In case you didn't know this, I really do have the greatest husband on the planet. Who else's husband would volunteer to do all of the dirty work while I took a photo class? Who else's husband knows the perfect way to make his wife laugh after a long hard day of high school craziness?

People often accuse me of being able to write, however on an occasion such as this, I do not have the words to explain my love and thankfulness for you.

I love you Steve!

New Slideshow element

Check out the slideshow to the right. These are my photos in Flickr. Pretty cool, eh?

Enjoy and feel free to comment on them here!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Summer vacation is finally here!!

That's right, it is the official return of Summer Karen. I am so excited I can hardly stand it!

I have some great pictures to share in today's entry. But first, I thought I'd describe my first day of summer vacation. We put Jack to bed last night for the first time letting him cry himself to sleep. It went pretty well. He cried for less than half an hour and finally fell asleep. Steve volunteered for the dirty job of sitting with him and letting him cry. I sat in the office (right across the hall) and paid bills. I needed to have something to do to keep myself from getting too upset. Jack then proceeded to sleep really well; he woke up for his one feeding and then went back to sleep.

Jack woke up a little before 6, but we waited until 6 a.m. to get him. It was pretty fun going in to his room with Steve and seeing him smile at the two of us. What a great way to start the day!

From there, we went on a walk, the whole family! Breyer was so excited she couldn't keep all four paws on the floor at once. It was a nice morning for a walk too.

After Steve left for work, Jack and I played a little more on his playmat and then it was finally time for his first nap. I let him cry it out again, but it only took a few minutes and one renukking. I decided to take a nap too, and we slept for two hours!

This is when the fun started. We got up and it was time for Jack to eat again. I made his bottle and fed him. Steve had called, and I figured we could leave for his office in about 30 minutes. I hung up, then realized I hadn't taken my shower yet. I took what I thought was a quick shower and then started packing up Jack for our outing. I was almost all ready to go (it had been about 45 minutes at this point) and I couldn't find my wallet. I searched everywhere. I even called Outback, where we had eaten last night. I finally got ahold of Steve and he had put my wallet in the glove compartment of the truck.

Finally, we were ready to go (it had now been an hour). I picked up Jack and headed for the carseat. He vomitted all over both of us and the floor. We detoured from the carseat to Jack's room, changed his clothes, headed to my room, changed my clothes, went back to the carseat, cleaned the floor and my shoes, then finally hit the road. It had only been an hour and 15 minutes. Luckily, Steve is patient.

We had lunch at Old Towne Pub, which was really relaxing since there weren't many people there. Jack watched the flat screen the whole time. After we dropped off Steve, we headed for the grocery store and Target. We finally made it back home around 3, just in time for Jack to eat again.

Jack did take another nap this afternoon, which was nice. I was able to relax a little after all of the excitement of the midday. Steve came home and it was like Jack knew and woke up just for him. We had dinner, and little more play time, and then a bath. Jack went to sleep a little easier tonight, he only cried for a few minutes, maybe five.

What a great start to vacation!

Okay, here are some fun photos!

Father's Day





Barrett Family Day out


5 months old